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Engineering Virality -- DC Week 2012

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Engineering Virality -- DC Week 2012

  1. 1. Engineering Virality Andrew Forrest Audience, Analytics, & Business Manager Luigi Montanez Founding Engineer Wednesday, November 7, 2012 DC Week 2012
  2. 2. FoundersEli Pariser Peter Koechley
  3. 3. Millions of unique visitors9876543210 April May June July August September October
  4. 4. Not this...
  5. 5. This.
  6. 6. Most Popular Content
  7. 7. Common Threads?
  8. 8. The Secret Formula For Virality
  9. 9. Clickability = Headlines
  10. 10. Curiosity Gap• Too vague, don’t want to click. • This is an amazing video!• Too specific, don’t need to click. • Chimpanzee sniffs own butt, passes out from doing so.• Just right, compelled to click. • Adorable chimpanzee does something rather unexpected.
  11. 11. Obama Blasts Obamas Evasive StanceOn Gay Marriage Obama Says Same-Sex Marriage Should Be Legal Now THIS Is Why I Voted For Barack Obama
  12. 12. We write 25 headlinesfor every piece of content
  13. 13. 25 Headlines• Start strong, then get desperate, get creative• Explore all possible angles• Useful outside of headlines: share text, tweet text, lede
  14. 14. Click Package
  15. 15. Thumbnails
  16. 16. Shareability
  17. 17. Why People Share Anger The Sweet SpotRelaxation Happiness Sadness
  18. 18. Share Buttons Are Effective
  19. 19. Dark Social• URLs shared via email and IM• Over half the traffic to established media sites• Measured by direct traffic to content pages• Provide an easy to copy-and-paste URL
  20. 20. Building An Audience
  21. 21. Broadcasting vs. Virality• In theory, you only need virality.• In practice, you need both.
  22. 22. Our Broadcast Network• Facebook page• Email list• Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest accounts
  23. 23. Footer Signup
  24. 24. Engineering A Hit
  25. 25. Step 1: Content• Impossible to know a piece of content will go viral.• Find the right qualities to give it the greatest chance of success.• Strong, positive emotional pull.
  26. 26. Step 2: Framing
  27. 27. Step 3: Initial Push Post to Facebook page and monitor results
  28. 28. Step 4: Recognize Potential Real-time traffic + tracking generations of sharing
  29. 29. Step 5: Push To Other Channels Email, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.
  30. 30. Engineering The Site
  31. 31. Social Networks
  32. 32. Facebook Share Button• The “Like” button isn’t effective.• Sharing is a much stronger signal than liking.• Do the extra work and implement a custom share button using the Facebook Share Dialog API.
  33. 33. Facebook Share Dialog
  34. 34. Open Graph API• Learn it. Implement it fully.• Provide title, description, url, & image meta tags in your HTML.• Double-check your implementation using the Facebook Debugger.• Full integration increases your viral capability.
  35. 35. Tweet Button: Intent
  36. 36. Twitter Cards
  37. 37. Social Mobile
  38. 38. Mobile Traffic• 29% of all traffic in April• 31% of all traffic in October• Highly viral content sees a higher percentage of mobile traffic• The most popular mobile browser: the built-in browser in the Facebook iOS app
  39. 39. Mobile From Day One
  40. 40. Mobile Implementations• Do nothing• Responsive Design• Mobile website (m.upworthy.com)• Native iOS and Android apps
  41. 41. Scaling For Spikes
  42. 42. Aggressive Caching• Static content should always be cached• Don’t need powerful servers• Bypass complicated web frameworks• Use content-delivery networks
  43. 43. A/B Testing• Use Optimizely to test new features• Approach new features scientifically • Form a hypothesis • Run an experiment with a proper control • Trust only statistically significant results• Building in-house experiment framework
  44. 44. Questions?